Scunthorpe United 1-0 Bolton Wanderers

  • April 08, 2017 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton guaranteed their place in the League One play-offs, despite seeing a nine-match unbeaten run come to an end with defeat at Scunthorpe United.

Since losing at Sheffield United in February, Wanderers had embarked on a run that had put them in pole position for automatic promotion to the Championship - winning five away games in succession since that afternoon at Bramall Lane.

That came to an end on Saturday, however, as David Mirfin headed home from a Josh Morris inside 11 minutes at Glanford Park.

The loss halts the momentum of Phil Parkinson's side, who remain seven points clear of Fleetwood Town, but defeat for Southend United at Charlton Athletic means Wanderers are guaranteed a top-six finish at the end of the campaign.

Hot on the heels of a fifth consecutive away victory on Tuesday night, Parkinson opted to stick with the same team that started at Southend United but with one exception - as Conor Wilkinson took the place of the injured Gary Madine.

After a slow start in the Lincolnshire sunshine, the first talking point arrived with six minutes on the clock when Scunthorpe saw appeals for a penalty turned down by referee David Webb as a cross from Stephen Dawson looked to have struck the arm of Dean Moxey from point-blank range.

The hosts were ahead just five minutes later though, as a free-kick from Morris caught Wanderers napping at the back, allowing Mirfin to beat his marker and head beyond Mark Howard.

Bolton's first serious attacking moment came at the midway point of the half as Filipe Morais raced away down the right-hand side before crossing into the path of Wilkinson, who had the ball taken off his foot by a last-ditch challenge from Mirfin.

The visitors looked to turn the screw from that point on and came close once again on the half-hour, with David Wheater seeing a goalbound volley blocked after Mark Beevers had headed the ball back across the face of goal.

Beevers was involved again from the resulting corner, laying the ball off to Dean Moxey, whose rasping drive from distance flew inches wide of Joe Anyon's goal.

Dorian Dervite headed wide from a Morais corner with 10 minutes of the half remaining, moments before Bolton saw penalty appeals turned down when Darren Pratley went to ground just as he looked set to pull the trigger.

Wilkinson, still without a goal since arriving at Wanderers from Millwall in 2013, then looked certain to break his duck, but he somehow shot wide from inside the six-yard box after he had been picked out expertly by an Adam Le Fondre cross.

Wilkinson came even closer in the next attack, as he saw a header deflect behind, but there was to be no breakthrough for the visitors, as they went in at the break a goal behind.

There was one change to the Scunthorpe side as the players emerged for the start of the second period, with Neal Bishop coming on in place of the injured Matt Crooks.

Bishop's impact was felt almost immediately, as he forced Howard into a smart stop down low to his left, before seeing a long-range strike deflected onto the post all inside the opening five minutes of the half.

Bolton responded well, with Wilkinson dragging an effort wide on the turn, although Scunthorpe remained a threat as Paddy Madden shot straight at Howard on the hour.

Wanderers' lack of penetration in the final third prompted a double substition on 62 minutes, with Max Clayton and James Henry on in place of Wilkinson and Pratley, as Parkinson looked to get his side back on level terms.

Just like Bishop did in the early stages of the half, Henry came off the bench to make his presence felt and almost got the equaliser within 60 seconds of his introduction - seeing a powerful strike from distance tipped over by Anyon.

Le Fondre was next to try his luck for the visitors, bringing the ball down on his chest before volleying wide from the edge of the box, shortly before a Clayton's header from a Morais free-kick was somehow pushed behind by the outstretched glove of Anyon.

Beevers entered the game looking to become the first Bolton player to score in six consecutive away games since 1950 and he came agonisingly close to repeating the achievements of Willie Moir, as his header from a Morais cross clipped the outside of the post, before Henry fired over from the rebound.

With the game looking to be beyond rescue for the visitors, Moxey almost became an unlikely goalscorer when his deflected shot forced a stop out of Anyon, moments before Wheater was moved to an attacking position as four minutes of time was added for stoppages.

As there usually is in football, there was to be one final chance for the visitors as they won a corner in the third of those four added minutes. The ball fell kindly into the waiting arms of Anyon, however, as he made a simple save to keep out a tame header from Dervite.

Despite defeat, their first in 10 games, Bolton remain seven points clear of 3rd-place with just four games left to play and could clinch promotion next weekend, providing they win at Oldham Athletic and see rivals Fleetwood Town and Bradford City lose on Good Friday.

They are, however, guaranteed a place in the end-of-season play-offs.

Scunthorpe United: Anyon, Wiseman, Wallace, Mirfin, Townsend, Crooks (Bishop 46), Dawson (Davies 90+4), Ness, Morris, Madden (Manton 86), Toney
Subs Not Used: van Veen, Holmes, Sutton, Watson
Booked: Wallace, Bishop
Goals: Mirfin 11

Bolton Wanderers: Howard, Beevers, Wheater, Dervite, Moxey, Spearing, Pratley (Henry 63), Vela, Morais, Le Fondre, Wilkinson (Clayton 63)
Subs Not Used: Turner, Karacan, Long, Osede, Wabara
Booked: Vela

Referee: David Webb
Attendance: 6,149

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Accrington Stanley 0 0
2 Barnsley 0 0
3 Bolton Wanderers 0 0
4 Bristol Rovers 0 0
5 Burton Albion 0 0
View Full Standings >>


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